Throwing rocks to ripple in the pond, he waited. Any moment now and the portal would gape open. It began as a tiny light twinkling the same way a star appears from outer space, but spread like a wild-fire until it glowed as tall as Jack’s head and wide as his shoulders.
Jack stepped closer. For a moment, he stood waiting at the edge of his world. An uncomfortable feeling grabbed at his chest. A shiver of apprehension tracked through him. He tilted his head in contemplation, peaking outside where the ball of fire in the sky, they called it the sun, was an orange smear across the darkening sky, making the dirt of the other world look that much dingier, Jack grimaced.
Tossing his head back, he snapped his fingers and a board with wheels appeared in his hand. He spun a wheel with one finger, a devilish smile lifting one side of his lips. He took a deep breath and dove head first through to the other side.
Sliding by on his skateboard, the sound of happy laughter drew Jack like a witch’s spell. He spun around a corner of the market place to find children stomping and splashing in a shallow fountain. Blue, green, orange and pink lights glistened up from beneath the water to shine on the little one’s faces.
Adults gathered at the edge of the pool. Among them sat a woman in tapered, cream-colored slacks. Her golden hair blew every so slightly in the evening breeze. It was the look on her face that bothered Jack the most, superior and smug as if she was too good to stand among the common folk.
She narrowed her blue gaze toward a slightly plump, smaller woman who had the audacity to get in bare feet and ankle-deep with a little boy. Hands beneath the child’s arms, she swung him just above the splashing water. The little one’s squeals of joy made Jack’s heart swell with happiness.
The fairy knelt low. He could disappear with just a thought. The wheels of the skateboard he rode whirled, blending with the chirping of crickets.
Smooth as butter, Jack picked up a rock from the ground. He gave it a toss so the smooth stone landed exactly where he wanted it.
It hit the puddle of mud just so. A stream of the black gunk splattered from knee to ankle on the haughty woman’s not-so-perfect-now cream slacks.
A bubble of laughter started in Jack’s throat. He doubled over, slapping his knees, yet never once did he teeter the slightest bit off the board on wheels.
The woman jumped to her feet. A scream of horror tore her perfect face. Now we’re having fun, Jack smirked.
The little boy swinging from his mother’s hands gazed wide-eyed in the fairy’s direction. Of course you know me. Jack gave the child a wink.
Copyright 2007 by Ledia Runnels
During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.
Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.
Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.
In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultimate price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.
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